I try to air on the inclusive Jesus. Every time. 

This week, I reflected on biblical interpretation and the theologians that I have drawn from.  I reminded myself as any good graduate of Iliff School of Theology would that each of us from the beginning of time, comes to the text with a different lens.  My hope is that my lens can be life-giving. Inclusive. Full of love for all people.  My hope is that my lens can encourage others towards their unique lens.

It's been awhile since I've entered some words into this blog.  I am still in the first year of pastoring the small but mighty church of Black Forest.  The oldest church and also the only designated Open and Affirming congregation in the Black Forest.  I like to remind myself of that on a regular basis because, like I said, I try to air on the inclusive Jesus.  Every time. 

I had a whirl-wind of a time through the holidays and entering into 2019. First time doing a Christmas eve service solo, our son went off to boarding school for the first time, we hired a new Interim Director of Music and Arts (she's amazing!) and now we are preparing for our Annual Meeting. There are more things, of course.  Our transgender soldier arrived back from deployment (do you like how I count you as "ours" Alivia?), which meant considering a warm welcome in multiple ways.  I attended the MLK All People's Breakfast with my Bethy, a tradition that cannot be missed. An important part of the calendar that points us towards the inclusive Jesus. Every time. 

In these past few week's though, I have wondered about the wonderment of epiphanies.  We are in the season.  Nine weeks, or so of "ah-ha" moments.  I lay cozy last night and said "all of life, is so hard, why didn't anyone tell us?" Indeed all of life is so hard and then I remembered teaching our First Step pre-schoolers about the Liturgical Season of Epiphany and the "Ah-Ha" moments that it provides.  Though, really it is just nine week's to practice (which should be enough) the "Ah-Ha" moments so that we know how to have those epiphanies throughout Lent and Easter and Ordinary time--over and over again. My favorite part of teaching the kid's about Epiphany, the three wise ones, their "ah-ha" moment, was teaching them to bellow "AH-HA, Pastor Marta," every time we talked about the wise ones and the star and the baby Jesus. For those little ones, life may be hard and it may not be so hard, regardless they bring a whole lot of joy to life with the unabashed "ah-ha" moment.

So, this season we have stars. The stars adorning our PRAYground and Faith Lab Centers. Simple stars with simple materials for faith forming experiences. Stars with "ah-ha," stars cut out of card board and old paper grocery bags. Some stars printed on regular white paper defining the season of Epiphany with a reminder of Matthew 2.  Regular stars out of regular materials because epiphanies come during the regular, mundane moments of life.  Moments that we don't expect. Moments like recycled paper grocery bags and old boxes thrown out from Christmas. 

These stars, remind us of the inclusive Jesus. Every time.